(E&T) Automotive and aerospace companies are making a transition from being ‘nuts and bolts’ manufacturers to so-called ‘mobility companies’ that collect and use unprecedented amounts of data. Data will provide new insights to help shape the future of transport, via futuristic business models and technologies that will mitigate the many challenges presented by growing populations and increasing congestion amid the need for decarbonization.
Information requires processing at super-fast speeds and companies are exploring not only AI and machine learning but also the more experimental realm of quantum computing, to see if it can extract better solutions faster than the classical computing equivalent.
Nearly every automotive company is currently developing a quantum strategy, including VW, Daimler, BMW, Ford and Toyota. Volkswagen AG used a quantum computer to develop a traffic management system that, it claims, “will replace forecasts of urban traffic volumes, transport demand and travel times by precise calculations”.
In aerospace, Airbus launched its ‘Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge’ in January. Airbus also sees huge potential in quantum computing more generally. Chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini says the company deems the technology as potentially the “perfect match” of “unparalleled speed to manage an unparalleled amount of data” that goes hand-​in-hand with the aerospace industry’s gradual shift from a purely ‘nuts-and-bolts business’ to a more data-driven one.

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